Hungry and Cranky

I get cranky when I’m dieting.  I always have.  I probably always will.  I just hate that I can’t have what I want, when I want it.  But of course it was this thinking that caused me to get fat in the first place.  I try to be sensible throughout the day.  I eat a decent breakfast and I usually have a salad or something light for lunch.  My one “good” meal of the day is dinner.  I plan it out.  I put if off.  I wait as long as I can to have it because I know it’s the one that counts.  Therefore I want it to be just right.  Of course it needs to be within the guidelines of my diet, but it needs to be good and it needs to be enough food to sustain me till the next morning.

When I’m cooking myself I tend to do the same things over and over.  I fall into a rut and I just live there.  I don’t mind this and it works for me.  It takes the guess work out of figuring out exactly what I’m going to have.  I break this up by going out to dinner.  I’d known all night that Michelle (she got home today) and I were going out for dinner tonight.  I looked forward to eating something different and more tasty (I’m not a very good cook) than what I get at home.  Unfortunately Michelle pulled her back yesterday and so wanted to stay close to home.  That was okay with me…The Front Room down the street is delicious and they have a couple of dishes that I can eat on my diet.

I say a couple of dishes, because I don’t like seafood.  Salmon is the closest I get and I don’t eat that very often.  I had a bad experience with both fish and shell fish as a child and it’s stuck with me.  So when I go out to eat, I’m limited to the meat choices that are not fried, or breaded, or covered in other high fat/high carb ingredients.  At The Front Room, the one thing on their menu that works for me is the pork chop.  I’ve had it now the last ten times I’ve been there.  So tonight as we walked down the street, I had my heart set on anything, anything at all other than the pork chop.

So we get to the restaurant and are seated right away.  It’s not a great location, but it’s okay.  The waiter finally comes by and takes our drink order.  I noticed at the time he wasn’t very friendly but attributed it to the fact they were busy as usual.  Eventually our drinks come and we are told the specials.  At the Front Room, 99% of the specials are seafood.  I tend to tune out while they are being described.  Tonight though, the first special was lamb.  I love lamb, and I have not had it in a long time.  So immediately I knew what I was having for dinner.

A few minutes later the waiter comes back to take our order.  Michelle goes first and is quite easy.  It becomes my turn and I start.  I wanted the Caesar Salad to start and then the lamb.  However, instead of the polenta could I please have the grilled vegetables you serve with several of your other dishes.  You would have thought that I’d asked to have deep fried cat.  The waiter immediately got indignant and stuffy and announced that they do not do substitutions on specials.  It’s the chef’s desire that the meal be served as he intended it or to get something else.  I was told that I could get a side of grilled vegetable for $3.50, but that I must get the polenta as well.  I was sort of taken aback.  I’ve been in some of the nicest NYC restaurants and it’s generally understood that the restaurant is there to make you happy.  I wasn’t asking for anything that wasn’t on the menu, in fact I was asking for something that probably cost them about 35 cents to buy at the market.  I know this because the last time I got a side of grilled vegetables it was all carrot and potatoes with a few string beans for color.  And all of this was made far worse by the waiter being such an ass.

I said fine.  Skip the lamb.  I’ll have the pork chop.

And this is where they really got me.  I’m sorry, we are out of the pork chop tonight.  Well Fuck.  I didn’t say this, but I thought it.  What I did say, was fine.  Then I guess I’ll skip dinner here tonight.  At this point, I would have been perfectly happy to come home and grill a chicken breast and call it an evening.  Michelle looked at me and then the waiter and said, never mind then, I guess I won’t eat here either.   At this point the waiter brought us our check for our drinks and we left.  I asked to speak to the manager on the way out and she was about as helpful as a rock.  At no point were they apologetic nor did they try to appease the situation.  It really was a case of….”we are too busy to worry about the likes of you.”

And with that we left and went up the street two blocks to The Blue Spoon.  There we were treated like royalty.  We were told substitutions wouldn’t be a problem and we were told that they’d be happy to accommodate me in anyway they could.  As it turns out, I was able to find something on the menu that needed no substitutions and was delicious.

So the question I ask.  Did I over react by not just ordering something else.  Michelle was supportive, but she thought I over reacted a little.  I don’t know.  I know that as I said I get cranky when I’m dieting and it’s multiplied ten times over when I’m hungry AND I’m dieting.  I’m still a little pissed at how unreasonable they were.  I have a hard time believing that I’m the first person to come into their restaurant on a low carb diet that had requests of the kitchen.  As I said this wouldn’t work in New York.  Everyone I know is on some form of low carb diet.

Now I just have to decide if I’m ever going back.

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Day Ten: Oklahoma

Can I tell you how much I like wrapping up my day on my blog?  I’m sure a lot of people don’t like the long posts and may not even be reading them.  But it’s been wonderful to end my day by discussing my life in Oklahoma.

Tonight I’m exhausted.  I only got about 3 hours sleep last night, by the time I made it to my room, posted my entry and got to bed.  I had to be up and ready to go at 7:30 this morning.  I finally dragged my ass out of bed at 7:27 and literally ran to the shower.  I was showered,with teeth brushed and dressed by 7:35.  It’s amazing how fast you can move when you need to.

The day started with the costume coordinator driving me and my crew to the theatre.  It was discussed last night and since she had to be up at 8:30 it made sense that she get up a little earlier to drive us there.  I don’t know if I have mentioned it, but no one on my crew has a car.  The artistic director told me I would have a car while I was here but he hasn’t delivered yet.  So we met this girl downstairs and we were on our way.  To put it politely she scared the shit out of me.  She ran two stop signs before we ever left campus.  Then she drove the whole way going 75 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour speed zones.  She wouldn’t brake until the absolute last minute.  At one intersection she was almost broad-sided because she turned in front of an oncoming car.  I was wide awake by the time I got to the theatre.

We did manage to get her to stop at Quick Trip.  A couple of days ago I referred to it as Quick Mart, but it’s actually Quick Trip.  The have the best soda (pop) selection of any convenience store I’ve ever seen.  I think there are 24 selections in the fountain soda area.  Of course I’m only interested in Diet Coke, but it’s nice to know there are choices.  The nice thing about stopping is David, the cute boy who works there.  He’s absolutely beautiful and beefy with a short military hair cut.  Of course he’s got the worst disposition of all the employees.  He just scowls and never says thank you and barely looks at you when he’s waiting on you.  But at least he’s pretty to look at.

Life at the theatre sucked today.  My crew and I started loading in the lighting equipment in the big performing arts center here in town.  It’s a union house which means that all the crew helping us was union.  As someone who has been in a couple of unions in his life, I appreciate the value that can be added by it.  I also know that the stage hand union has done a lot to help with safety in the theatre and keep the working hours reasonable.  I’ve worked as a union stage hand and I’ve led crews that were union.  Every time has been wonderful.  The guys were helpful, worked hard, knew their stuff and made the load in a breeze.

That is until today.  Hands down it was the worst IATSE crew that I’ve ever worked with in my life.  They were old.  The youngest had to be 60.  They were lazy.  They were condescending.  They complained about having to do the work.  And then to top it all off the guy in charge on their end, said no when we asked to borrow an extension cord and a drill.  He told us we should have come prepared and that it wasn’t his job to provide us these things.  Truth be told he was being a prick.  This was after I changed my design a number of times to help make the hang manageable and go quickly.  It was almost as if he decided to make the job go slower so we’d have to use the crew a second day.  They also went out of their way to tell me I had too many lights in the design.  As a designer, it’s really none of their business.  They are hired to hang the show and make it happen.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 lights or 450 lights.  If every designer only hung 10 lights there wouldn’t be a need for the five of them and they’d be out of work.  Hmmm.   I think the worst part of the day was that they all went out of there way to tell me and my crew that we didn’t know what we were doing.  In fact at one point I was told just that.  Unfortunately since I’m going to be working there for the next three weeks I had to bite my tongue and ignore it.  But there were a couple of times, it was all I could do not to tell the one guy to FUCK OFF!!!  Ugh!!!  The best part is that at 9:30 tomorrow it all starts again.  Yippee!

The out of town show opened tonight.  It went well.  There were about 500 people in the audience with an average age of about 93.  I kept expecting one of them to keel over dead any minute.  Of course there were a couple of young audience members.  One was about 18 months old and cried through the entire  first act of the play.  For some reason the father decided that if he sat in the back row that was empty with the kid it would be okay.  Just for the record.  The back row is still in the theatre.  We can still hear it crying.  Take it home.  Get a sitter.  Put it to bed.  Do something with it, just don’t make us deal with the crying.

So at about 7:45 I entered the theatre and took my seat.  I looked down at my program.  Seems they went the cheap route for the out of town tryout.  It was a photocopied paper with the information on both sides of the page.  I then started looking for my name.  It took a while but I finally found it.  I was buried 10 people down on the artistic staff list.  After Production Stage Manager, Stage Manager, Chorus Master, Wardrobe Coordinator, Wardrobe Designer, and several other people.  In fact I was last on the list.  I’m not usually picky about these things,  but there is a hierarchy that is followed in the theatre.  Lighting designers are listed after scenery and costumes, but before sound.   All though stage management is absolutely vital, and they can make or break the show, they are not artistic staff.  I’ll have to see how I’m listed next week when we “really” open the show.  I may have to get bitchy if it’s the same.

Tomorrow we close out of town.  (Did I mention that we were reviewed in the local paper and we received wonderful notices).  That means tomorrow night after the show everything we’ve spent the last week doing is undone.  The set is taken apart piece by piece.  The lights are all taken down.  The costumes are all packed up.  Then every thing is loaded onto a truck.  This will take several hours and we probably won’t start for home until 2 a.m. or so tomorrow night.  Then on Sunday morning, we arrive at the theatre at 8 a.m. so the set can be loaded into the new space.  Thank GOD Monday is our day off.  If I make it till then, I’m not getting out of bed all day.

I hope all you normal folks out there have a good weekend.

Maine–The Way Life Ought To Be!

I drove to Maine today.  It was the longest drive of the trip so far.  It should have taken 5.5 hours and it took almost 8.  My average speed for the first two hours was about 7 miles per hour.   The traffic was insane in NYC.  And the drivers are crazy.  They switch lanes without warning, whether there’s space or not.  At one point an inpatient car was driving on the left-hand shoulder of the highway.  Then there were the motorcyclists going about 85 when everyone else was sitting still.  It was very nerve wracking.

Of course things didn’t get any better once I got out of NYC.  The drivers outside the city favored slower speeds despite the fact the speed limit was 65 miles per hour.  I passed a ton of cars going around 55, and breaking every so often.  I often think the slower drivers are more dangerous than the fast ones.  At least the speeders are moving.  Today I was driving along and the person in front of me would break for no reason.  It was also nerve wracking.

And then there was Connecticut.  As someone who has driven across the country many, many times.  Hands down Conncecticut is the worst state to drive in.  First the exits are not illuminated in anyway.  They are just dark voids in the abyss.  Second, they conveniently don’t have the signs saying McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King at this exit.  They have little symbols indicating this exit has gas, food and lodging.  What they don’t tell you is that when you get off the highway you’ll have to drive ten miles to find it.  At one exit I drove along trying to follow the signs and got dumped back on I-95 going south.  At another exit I got off only to discover there was not an entrance back on going north.  It took 4 attempts to find an exit with gas.  Of course the gas cost a million dollars a gallon and only served Diet Pepsi.  So I got gas and thought I would go to the McDonald’s next door for Diet Coke.  But guess what they were out of Diet Coke.  Fuck!

This meant that I had to venture off the highway again for a drink.  Before you tell me I’m silly.  One of the nice things about traveling by yourself is that you can stop when you want, where you want, why you want.  And I MUST have Diet Coke from a fountain in the car while I drive.  Luckily for me, I crossed the state line into Rhode Island and I was saved.

The rest of the trip was without incident and I finally arrived around midnight.  I’ll be here until Wednesday.  Oh, and if you guys are wondering why I haven’t posted any pictures of my trip it’s because my relatively new digital camera has bitten the dust.  The screen is a mixture of nonsense images of different colors.  I’m hoping to get to Best Buy tomorrow to get a new one.  If I do, I’ll post some pictures of Maine.

Have a great week.

I’m Late, I’m Late…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before on my blog but I hate being late.  It causes me great stress to know that I am running late for anything.  The importance and relevance of the event doesn’t matter.  It could be a doctor’s appointment, a movie, a date, school, work.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m almost always on time.  In fact, I’m almost always early.  It’s a very rare occasion when I arrive at the scheduled time.  It can be kind of embarrassing when it’s a party and I’m there 15 minutes before the start time.   More often than not, I sit in the parking lot and way till an appropriate time to “arrive.”

Over the years I’ve come to realize that everyone else is not this way.  And with gay men it’s even worse.  I’ve had way too many friends to count that couldn’t be on time if there life depended on it.  That being said it annoys me when I’m kept waiting.  I’m also annoyed when others don’t appreciate that my time is just as valid as theirs.

For example tonight.  I was scheduled to have dinner with my friend Sean and his boyfriend.  This had been scheduled all week but I received a phone call from Sean this morning letting me know that he was very ill and letting me know that dinner might have to be postponed.  No problem, I completely understood.  The message told me to call him at four when he was off work and he would let me know then if dinner was still on.  I left a message for him at four and he called back about 10 minutes later.  He was feeling much better, so we could still get together around 7:00.

This was great since I had not seen him since I got back to NYC.  However, at 6:30 he calls me to let me know that the time would have to be pushed back to 7:30.  He doesn’t give an excuse and I don’t ask for one.  It was really no big deal.  Which would be fine except that at 7:15 just as I’m putting on my coat to leave (the restaurant is just up the street) his boyfriend calls to say it’s going to be 8:00 now.  Once again no excuse.  Just changing the time.

This completely annoyed me.  Luckily I hadn’t left my apartment yet, but still.  We agreed on a set time and I planned my schedule accordingly.  I know it’s not that big of a deal.  But at the time I was completely put out.  I agreed to a scheduled time and it’s not that hard to stick with it.  Of course I didn’t say anything to them but I was in a bad mood till at least half way through dinner.  It finally lifted but I hated that it was issue to begin with.

I’m usually pretty good about just letting it go, but tonight for some reason it just stuck with me.  I’m over it now, I’m just sharing with you guys what was going on tonight.  I won’t hold it against them, although it’s not the first time they’ve done this.  They are nowhere close to being as bad as my friend Arthur in San Diego who is late for everything.  One of the last times we went to theatre he showed up at 8:15.  The curtain was at 8:00.  He had the tickets so I didn’t get to see the show.  I had actually already gone when he arrived.  I was so angry at the time that it was months before I agreed to do anything with him again.  Even now, I schedule our activities with a 30 minute grace period.  If he needs to be at dinner at 6:00 I tell him 5:30.  I don’t know if he’s caught on, but it’s making it bearable to socialize with him again.

I guess I just need to learn to breathe and let things go.  AHHHHHHH!